Our new Spectrum News app is the most convenient way to get the stories that matter to you. He also appeared as Mayor Ben (a leopard) on the children's program Zoobilee Zoo and as Itsy Bitsy Spider in Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme. You learn from the good, what's good, and you learn from the bad what not to do. I was walking along the highway and I had a stroke and got hit by a truck. When Vereen was 18 years old, he made his New York stage bow off-off Broadway in The Prodigal Son at the Greenwich Mews Theater. When she returned, the child was gone. Ben Vereen allegedly spent 36 years married to two women illegally and this controversy landed him a lawsuit. Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. Get the best experience and stay connected to your community with our Spectrum News app. They ultimately divorced in 2012.Ben originally filed for divorce from Andrea back in 1972 – and that she filed her own divorce paperwork two years later in 1974. His critical injuries (including a broken leg) required him to undergo arduous physical rehabilitation in the ensuing months.[17][18]. Ben Vereen Jr. Obituary, funeral arrangement, any GoFundMe page. Ben Vereen may have played the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Broadway's "Wicked," but tech wiz is not a role he ever imagined himself in. I went to a place called Kessler Institute in West Orange, NJ. Four women accused Vereen of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to assault. In 2010, he appeared on the television series How I Met Your Mother episodes "Cleaning House" and "False Positive" as Sam Gibbs, the long lost father of James Stinson, Barney Stinson's brother. The driving force behind the 74-year-old's successful acting career - his mother. He probably would have played a much bigger role on Silk Stalkings, but one bad day in 1992 almost ended Vereen's acting career — and life. [8] According to video artist Edgar Arcenaux, what TV viewers didn’t see was the second part of the performance, in which Vereen mimicked being refused service because of his color while trying to buy the Republican elite a congratulatory drink. By Alanna Vagianos. He was adopted by James Vereen, a paint-factory worker, and his wife, Pauline, who worked as a maid and theatre wardrobe mistress. In 2001, Medgar Evers College created the Ben Vereen Scholarship for the Performing Arts, and in 2004, he received an Achievement in Excellence Award from his alma mater, the High School of the Performing Arts. Over the course of his career, Ben has appeared in numerous Broadway and stage productions, including Jesus Christ Superstar, A Christmas Carol, Hair, Chicago, and Wicked. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Vereen confirmed his son’s death in a statement on Tuesday, saying: "I am sorry to announce my son Benjamin A Vereen Jr., affectionately known as Benji passed away." Broadway Actor Ben Vereen Accused Of Sexual Assault In 2015 'Hair' Production. He had … After developing a rapport with Davis, Vereen was cast as his understudy in the upcoming production of Golden Boy, which toured England and ended the run at the Palladium Theatre in London's West End. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. [24], According to the New York Daily News, "the women — part of the Venice Theatre production outside of Tampa — say Vereen forced unwanted kisses, hugged them aggressively, stripped naked during an acting exercise and made degrading comments about their weight, sex appeal and personal lives". The following year, he was cast opposite Sammy Davis Jr. in the film adaptation of Sweet Charity. His birth certificate revealed that his birth name was Benjamin Augustus Middleton, that he was the son of Essie Middleton, and that he was born in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Ben Vereen: When that accident happened in 1992 I had hit a tree. As Arceneaux explains, Vereen's performance was meant as a critique of Republican civil rights policies, but the TV audience didn't get to see it.[9]. In the 2017 season, Vereen finished with 164 rushing yards and 253 receiving yards but did not record a touchdown for the first time in his career. For example, two of the actresses said he did this by privately luring them on separate occasions to his Florida rental home. Before the finale, ABC cut the live performance, generating confusion and anger from viewers at home. The 69-year-old Tony-winning actor is … In 2011, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.[28]. His daughter died when she was 16, and Vereen himself was critically injured when he was hit by a car. His 16-year-old daughter, Naja, was killed in an auto accident in 1987[16] on the New Jersey Turnpike when a truck overturned on her car. While on the trip he learned his mother had died 24 years before, but that several relatives still lived in the area." ", "Donny and Marie," and "The Muppet Show." Ben Vereen Allegedly Spent 36 Years Married to Two Women The Pippen star is now divorcing his first wife, Andrea, with whom he has been married for 52 years He returned to New York City to play Claude in Hair in the Broadway production, before joining the national touring company. Life Change Look. In the early 1980s, Vereen moved with his family to Saddle River, New Jersey.[15]. Over the course of his career, Ben has appeared in numerous Broadway and stage productions, including Jesus Christ Superstar, A Christmas Carol, Hair, Chicago, and Wicked. Vereen was nominated for a Tony Award for Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and won a Tony for his appearance in Pippin in 1973. Ben Vereen Jr. tributes. Annie Lennox. [10] He also appeared on the television series The Nanny episode "Pishke Business". The Community Mental Health Council awarded Vereen with their 2004 Lifeline Celebration Achievement Award. Ben Vereen – Now. Vereen Jr. had been missing for … [6] He was raised Pentecostal.[7]. To my management company, The Cooper Company, Pamela Cooper, Steve Gaeto, Kendra Pettis, and Phil Byron, Thank you. 1. The driving force behind the 74-year-old's successful acting career - his mother. Shane Patrick-Henry Vereen (born March 2, 1989) is a former American football running back. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Vereen worked steadily on television with projects ranging from the sitcom Webster to the drama Silk Stalkings. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona, Emerson College, St. Francis College, and Columbia College in Chicago. Ben Vereen may have played the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Broadway's "Wicked," but tech wiz is not a role he ever imagined himself in. Nowadays, Ben is a public speaker and advocate for human rights and black history. During his pre-teen years, he exhibited an innate talent for drama and dance and often performed in local variety shows. Vereen is the godfather of R&B superstar Usher and is also the first cousin once removed of New York Giants running back Shane Vereen. A singer, dancer, and actor known for his dramatic performances in theater, Ben Vereen has performed on television, in films, and on stage. Ben Vereen. Learn how and when to remove this template message, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries, "Ben Vereen Writes About 'Blood Family' in New Book", "When Ben Vereen Wore Blackface to Reagan's Inaugural Gala", "What Viewers Didn't See Changed Everything for Ben Vereen Cy Musiker", "Farr cancels, Vereen in at Putting on the Ritz Nov. 7", "Ben Vereen is revealed to be a bigamist", "Ben Vereen Allegedly Spent 36 Years Married to Two Women", "Ben Vereen Named Co-Artistic Director of Tampa's Broadway Theatre Project", "Ben Veeren files for divorce from wife of 36 years", "Democrats Hope to Get $6 Million in Telethon", "Ben Vereen Jr., Son of Tony Award-Winning Performer, has Died", "Broadway legend Ben Vereen accused of sexually assaulting and harassing actresses during production of 'Hair, "Broadway Star Ben Vereen Apologizes After Accusations of Sexual Harassment", http://www.lycos.com/info/ben-vereen--sweet-charity.html, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway/stars/vereen_b.html, Angels of Love Spiritual Center (Rev. Benji was a dancer and a choreographer with an extraordinary artistic talent … The performance generated controversy as Vereen performed the first part of the show in blackface. In 1972, Ben Vereen's acting talent earned him his first Theatre World Award after finding out he didn't want to lead the life of a seminary. Fortunately, Benjamin Vereen’s ex-wife, Nancy Bruner, was uninjured while Naja was pronounced dead with multiple injuries. He has also starred in hundreds of movies and TV shows! Vereen did so while repeatedly citing the musical’s content, as Hair portrays the hippie culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s and includes a nude scene. Benjamin Augustus Vereen (born October 10, 1946) is an American actor, dancer and singer. [11] In 1993 he appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Interface" as the father of Roots co-star LeVar Burton's character Geordi La Forge; fellow Roots star Madge Sinclair appeared in the same episode as Geordi's mother. According to The Fayetteville Observer of April 29, 2006, Vereen learned while applying for a passport in the late 1960s that he was adopted. Ben Vereen is a multi-award winning actor who dedicated decades to the art of performing in theatre and television. Ben Vereen Sr., who'd yet to speak out on the Page Six report Thursday afternoon, won Tony in 1972 for his performance in Broadway's Pippin. Benji was a dancer and a choreographer with an extraordinary artistic talent and we will hold him in our hearts forever. In May 2006, he met his mother's daughter, (his sister), Gloria Walker, of Derby, Connecticut. [22], His 55-year old son, Ben Vereen Jr., passed away in 2020. Thank you to the public for loving my son. He was the first simultaneous winner of the "Entertainer of the Year," “Rising Star," and "Song and Dance Star" awards from the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). In a … Sometimes we look for those thunderous things to happen … Ben "Benji" Vereen, Jr., 55, Ben's son by his first wife, and himself a dancer and choreographer, was found dead on 8 August 2020 after being missing from his home for several weeks. a role ben vereen was born to play Will Power January 28, 2010 FETCH CLAY Fetch Clay, Make Man has been up and running now for two weeks, and I’m just now starting to reflect-although the full vibe of what’s happened and what’s to come for the piece won’t be known until after we close. Quotes: Ben Vereen Quotes 1 till 14 of 14. Ben Vereen, Actor: All That Jazz. [12][13][14] His father worked in a paint factory while his mother worked as a maid. Vereen was the keynote speaker for the Boys & Girls Clubs in St. Petersburg, Florida annual alumni tribute gala held in October 2007. National Veterans and Military Families Month, The New York Congressional Delegation Project, California Consumer Do Not Sell My Personal Information. We seek the parting of the seas, the moving of the mountains. And most of all giving praise to the one who makes all things happen, the Higher … In Roots, Vereen had played "Chicken George", the grandson of Burton's character Kunta Kinte. They are available for free. Following the end of the war, it was the start of the Baby Boomer years and technology advancements such as the jet engine, nuclear fusion, radar, rocket technology and others later became the starting points for Space Exploration and Improved Air Travel. But no, it's a quiet thing. Ben Vereen allegedly spent 36 years illegally married to two women. We are unable to confirm if a GoFundMe was created by the family/friends of the deceased at the time of this publication. Veeren later married his second wife Nancy Bruner in 1976. Early years. Vereen was cast opposite Jeff Goldblum in the short-lived detective series Tenspeed and Brown Shoe (1980). Sometimes we look for those thunderous things to happen in our life for our lives to change or go in the other direction. [25], According to Variety, "While directing the 2015 production of the musical at the Venice Theatre in Florida, Vereen is alleged to have invited female cast members back to his apartment and goaded them into sex acts. ben vereen. And keeping the heartbeat on percussions Aaron Vereen. Ben Vereen may have played the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Broadway's "Wicked," but tech wiz is not a role he ever imagined himself in. "[26], Vereen has since apologized for his misconduct.[27]. Vereen has appeared as a public speaker and humanitarian speaking on such topics as black history, overcoming adversity, and the importance of continuing education. His namesake father is 68-year-old Tony winning actor Ben Vereen. He has also starred in hundreds of movies and TV shows! Film and theater actor Ben Vereen says his son has died. By David Hinckley Looking back on a half century of performances that have taken him from Broadway to national television to dance stages and the silver screen, Ben Vereen adds just one qualifier. Famous Ben Vereen quotes. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. That love and support has helped Ben Vereen survive obstacles that would easily end the careers of other artists. Childhood. In 1992, Vereen suffered three accidents in one day, when his car hit a tree causing him to hit his head on the roof of his car, then he suffered a stroke while he was walking on a Malibu highway, apparently veering into the road where he was struck by a car driven by record producer David Foster. Come Monday, Jan. 25, the Tony-winning star of "Pippin" and countless other Broadway musicals will find out just how much of a techie he is when he begins teaching an eight-week virtual Master Class in acting for Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts. The family are yet to make public the obituary and funeral arrangements. Ben Vereen, Spiritual Director), Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ben_Vereen&oldid=998843641, Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from October 2019, BLP articles lacking sources from September 2014, Internet Off-Broadway Database person ID same as Wikidata, Articles with dead external links from October 2016, Articles with permanently dead external links, Official website different in Wikidata and Wikipedia, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Episode: "The Life and Death of Chick Sterling", Outstanding Supporting Actor in Variety or Music, Outstanding Lead Actor Drama or Comedy Series, This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 07:53. Ben Vereen became a familiar face on TV variety shows throughout the 1970s, such as "Carol Burnett," "The Gladys Knight & the Pips Show," "Dinah! Ben Vereen was born in 1940s. Terry Bell died with family, friends and loved ones left in total devastation.Our prayers, thoughts condolences are with the loved ones of the deceased for the great loss. Eddie Lyrics: From the day he was born / He was trouble / He was a thorn / In his mother's side / She tried in vain / But he never caused her nothing but pain / He left home the day she died Vereen was walking on Pacific Coast Highway shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday when he was struck by Foster’s Chevrolet Suburban. [23], In January 2018, four actresses in a Florida production of Hair directed by Vereen in 2015 alleged that he sexually harassed them throughout the production. Come Monday, … What's Gone Wrong With New York's Vaccine Rollout? He was placed on injured reserve on September 1, 2018 and was later released with an injury settlement. Vereen was born Benjamin Augustus Middleton on October 10, 1946 in Laurinburg, North Carolina. The early 1940s were dominated by World War II. He’ll be making a stop in Covington to do it. Meghan O’Rourke. Re-teaming with Bob Fosse, Vereen hit movie theaters the following year in Fosse's semi-autobiographical, Oscar-nominated feature "All That Jazz" (1979). Sometimes we look for those thunderous things to happen in our life for our lives to change or go in the other direction. In prior interviews with People Magazine and Ability … He played college football for the California Golden Bears. The death of my daughter is a subject I talk about briefly because there is nothing more tragic. I also want to thank all my Twitter and Facebook friends for helping me choose this CD cover and always being there for me. According to her acquaintances, Essie had gone on a trip when Vereen was a child, and had left her baby in someone's care. Ben Vereen once faced legal charges after he was accused of being married to two women for over three decades. [20], Vereen was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity on April 9, 2019. In April 2006, Vereen visited Scotland County with a genealogist on a search for family members and learned that his mother's name was Essie May Pearson. I've finally found my family". Vereen's four-week summer variety series, Ben Vereen ... Comin' At Ya, aired on NBC in August 1975 and featured regulars Lola Falana, Avery Schreiber and Liz Torres. Ben Vereen is one of the entertainment industry’s most-versatile figures, a performer who’s achieved success as a singer and dancer, as well a stage, film and television actor, overcoming great tragedy – including the death of his daughter and, several years later, a stroke and car accident – in the process. He married his first wife Andrea Townsley in 1966. Ben Vereen was born in 1940s. The entertainer Ben Vereen was critically injured early today when he was hit by a utility vehicle as he walked along a dark stretch of highway near his beach home in Malibu. Upon his graduation, he struggled to find suitable stage work and was often forced to take odd jobs to supplement his income. In August 2011, Vereen was named Co-Artistic Director of Tampa's Broadway Theatre Project. We seek the miracle. At least for me it was. Ben Vereen interview by Chet Cooper. He’s also accused of inappropriate talk and conduct during rehearsals that involved cast members stripping naked, ostensibly as preparation for a show that has, since its original 1967 production, been associated with a famous, full-cast nude scene. The early 1940s were dominated by World War II. During the time I was there, I wanted to see if I could do what the doctors had told me I would never do again. NEW YORK - Film and theater actor Ben Vereen says his son has died. Ben Vereen Tells Heartbreaking Family Tragedy That Caused His Heavy Drug Addiction. By the following year, he was in Las Vegas, performing in Bob Fosse's production of Sweet Charity, a show with which he toured in 1967–68. Vereen was walking on Pacific Coast Highway shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday when he was struck by Foster's Chevrolet Suburban. When Ben Vereen held auditions for “Hair” at a community theater in Florida in 2015, the Tony winner said he wanted to break new ground with the rock musical. Vereen later fired his agent after "Roots" producer Stan Margulies walked into one of his shows and told him he wanted Vereen to play Chicken George. We seek the parting of the seas, the moving of the mountains. It was recently announced that Tony Award-winning actor Ben Vereen will be a co-host (with Ann Reinking) for the third annual Chita Rivera Awards ceremony next weekend in New York. Benjamin Vereen Junior, who went by Benji, was a dancer and choreographer. In 1985, Vereen starred in the Faerie Tale Theatre series as Puss in Boots alongside Gregory Hines. He returned in 2013 and 2014 for another two episodes. NEW YORK - Film and theater actor Ben Vereen says his son has died. At the age of 14, Vereen enrolled at the High School of Performing Arts, where he studied under world-renowned choreographers Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins. But no, it's a quiet thing. New Orleans Saints. He also earned a coveted spot in the Casino Legends Hall of Fame. He made several appearances on the 1980s sitcom Webster as the title character's biological uncle. The couple supposedly divorced in 1974. I was hoping the Doctor would put me together so I could do the show. This post will be updated with more information as they are made available and public. In 1972, Ben Vereen's acting talent earned him his first Theatre World Award after finding out he didn't want to lead the life of a seminary. The miniseries was among the most talked-about television productions of the year, and Vereen leveraged his resulting high profile with the variety special "Ben Vereen, His Roots" (ABC, 1978). BroadwayWorld is saddened to hear of the passing of Benjamin Vereen Jr., the son of Tony-winning actor Ben Vereen. For his humanitarian contributions, he has received a number of awards including Israel's Cultural and Humanitarian Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, an Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award and a Victory Award. Childhood. On July 18, 2018, Vereen signed with the New Orleans Saints. He also has a brother, James Middleton, who lives in Tucson, Arizona. In 2012, Vereen was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame. Vereen gained prominence for his performances in the original Broadway productions of the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, for which he received a Tony Award nomination, and Pippin, for which he won the 1973 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Ben Vereen, best known for his role as “Chicken George” in Roots and as a superb Broadway dancer, revealed that he developed an extremely heavy cocaine addiction that was kicked into overdrive after the sudden death of his 16 year old daughter, Naja. Dr. Irwin Redlener: Can Joe Biden Defeat COVID-19? Ben Vereen’s daughter, Naja, was killed when a minivan driven by her mother was crushed by a tractor toppled on a highway ramp. What the Biden Presidency Means for New York's Recovery. In 1978, on a Boston Pops TV special, Vereen performed a tribute to Bert Williams, complete with period makeup and attire, and reprising Williams' high-kick dance steps, to Vaudeville standards such as "Waitin' for the Robert E. Lee". 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